Selections From My Parents’ Collection Of Depressing Art

As promised, here’s a quick glance at some of the paintings that have long haunted the walls of Casa de Greene. All are clickable for embiggening.

Last night, my father pointed to this painting and said, “I never told you the story about that one. I saw it someplace in Spain, and I liked it, so I bought it. Had to carry it under my arm on the plane.” And you thought Ulysses was an epic tale! I guess I can understand how a person could be transfixed by this girl in mourning, but it’s always bothered me how her tears are falling at exactly the same rate. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen in real life, which must mean the girl in this painting is a witch.

Here is a boy, sitting in a rotted out lifeboat, staring across a field at an ominous-looking barn. Is that barn where he watched helplessly as Death claimed his grandpapa? Maybe he’s waiting for someone to come out of the barn to tell him dinner’s ready. I was always cognizant as a child of how I sort of resembled the kid depicted here, so I grew up with an irrational fear of being abandoned in a wooden boat in a flowery field. Also, I don’t think this kid is wearing shoes, and that bothers me even more.

Sorry for the reflections in these next two. I think the dog looks super cold in this one. I’d love to paint a blanket over him, or at the very least attach a Colorform blanket on top of the glass frame so he shivers no more. Believe it or not, a duplicate print of this painting hung in the living room set of ’90s sitcom “Step By Step,” which is one of the only reasons I ended up regularly watching that show (the other reason: Staci Keenan).

My father hates this depiction of rural American life, but my mom loves it. The landscape here isn’t very dissimilar to portions of my hometown in Connecticut, which perhaps explains why there’s been no mass migration there since the pilgrims first came over.

And here we have the most frightening painting of them all—a rendering of yours truly at the age of three. I have the vaguest of memories regarding the arrival of this masterpiece to my parents’ home. Years later I would learn it was given to my father in lieu of a rent payment from a tenant in some building he owned. That’s almost as crazy as the collar I’m rockin’ here. I think I could pick up HBO on that thing. But seriously, folks, this thing makes me laugh from embarrassment every time I so much as think about it.

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12 responses to “Selections From My Parents’ Collection Of Depressing Art”

  1. Kirk D. Jerk says :

    Depressing is right. Wow! This is hilarious. Painting #4 is especially bleak, and reminds me of my hometown as well. Also, at age 3 you had the perfect politician’s smile. How were you not running for some sort of office back then?

  2. libertyboynyc says :

    This article gave my browser seasonal affective disorder. Happy now?

  3. Anonymous says :

    did not disappoint. i’ve been genuinely looking forward to seeing these all day. does this make me a sad, pitiful person?

  4. jamesgreenejr says :

    I’m glad so many people enjoyed this post. None of you are sad or pitiful for liking it.

  5. Anonymous says :

    Who is the first painting by?

  6. jamesgreenejr says :

    Juan Arroyo.

  7. alba says :

    Do you know anything else about the first painting? I really need to know

  8. Carlos Q says :

    I know this article is 4 years old now but would you be willing on selling the dog painting (assuming you still have the painting?

  9. jamesgreenejr says :

    I’ll have to consult my parents.

  10. alba almaguer says :

    If there is anything else that you know about the first painting, please contact me about it. That painting is very close to me and I would really appreciate any information.

  11. Brianne Langton says :

    I have two pieces by Juan Arroyo. The “Spanish Gypsie” that I have has one tear falling down her face rather than two. It was my grandfathers and he had bought it in Spain and it was passed to my after his passing. I absolutely love it and over the years had found a similar piece when searching Juan Arroyo.

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